Kimball Union erased a 3-1 deficit in the third period and scored with 50 seconds left to stun Salisbury 4-3 in front of a packed house at St. Anselm College.
Play between KUA and Salisbury was generally back and fourth during the first period. Despite both sides having opportunities, Salisbury had the better of the chances and was able to capitalize first. The top line for Salisbury, Lucas Mercuri (Lachaine, QC) , Nick Capone (East Haven, CT) and Justin Hryckowian (Ile-Bizard, QC) is a threat to score each time and puts pressure on during every shift. Michael Fairfax (Toms River, NJ) was able to put the Knights on the board with 7:13 left in the period.
Play remained back and fourth but KUA took the game to a more physical level, using their bodies to their advantage. With 10:33 left in the period Salisbury was able to put themselves up 2-0. After an acrobatic save by KUA goalie Veeti Kohvakka (Muurame, Finland), the puck was kicked back out for Lucas Mercuri to take a backhanded shot to put another one home.
Salisbury then took a penalty which led to Arlo Merritt (Halifax, NS) getting the puck on his stick and flying up the ice to score, making the score 2-1 with 8:06 left in the period. Before the period was out, Salisbury would add to the lead. Shortly after a KUA power play expired, Lucas Mercuri buried his second goal of the game after a scramble in front of the net, putting the Knights up 3-1.
KUA then went back on the power play where Tomas Mazura (Sezemice, Czech Republic) centered the puck and it went off a Salisbury defender, past Jared Levine (Newport Beach, CA) to cut the Knight’s lead to 3-2. Continuing the back and fourth penalties, Salisbury then went to the box. Despite being shorthanded, Zach Taylor (Hanover, MA) was able find the back of the net to tie the game at three with 38 seconds left in the period.
The third period was back and forth with each team getting some chances. It looked like we were headed to overtime. However, with 54.4 seconds left in the period, Paul Dore (Gatineau, QC) cut down the left wing, and the left shot rifled the puck top corner to put the Wildcats up 4-3.
The last minute goal from Paul Dore was the winner as KUA packed in and kept pressure to the perimeter of the rink.
1st Star: Paul Dore, KUA
2nd Star: Tomas Mazura, KUA
3rd Star: Lucas Mercuri, Salisbury
A wild end to the New England Prep season as KUA erased a two goal deficit and scored with under a minute remaining to capture their third straight New England Championship. Both teams are loaded with high-end talent and the pace of the game was high from start to finish. At the end of the day, KUA capitalized on more of their chances and was able to walk away victorious.
For the winner’s, Tomas Mazura was impressive. He is still raw but his long stride and reach make it tough for defenders at this level. On the back-end, Christian Felton (Medina, OH) was a rock, logging a ton of minutes. He is a one-man breakout and on several occasions wheeled the puck from behind his net into the offensive zone creating offensive chances.
For Salisbury, the line of Mercuri, Capone, and Hryckowian was all over the ice and made things happen each shift. They compliment each other well and were a big reason Salisbury had such a successful season. On the back-end, Jarod Crespo is a monster who plays in all situations. He retrieved pucks well all night and started the breakout with crisp tape to tape passes.